This work is dedicated to Hans Zinsser, a great American microbiologist of the early 20th century, who rightfully claims the name of the original Textbook of Bacteriology
Hans Zinsser was born November 17, 1878, in New York.
Zinsser obtained his doctorate from Columbia University in 1903. From 1903 to 1910 he was a bacteriologist at Roosevelt Hospital, an assistant pathologist at St. Luke's Hospital, and instructor for bacteriology at Columbia University. In 1910 he became associate professor at Stanford University, then full professor at Columbia University in 1913, and professor at Harvard University in 1923.
Zinsser made major contributions to bacteriology and public health. In 1906 he developed a medium and a simple method to plate anaerobic organisms. He did extensive work on typhus, and in 1934 he developed a vaccine of killed rickettsias that would protect against typhus.
Zinsser was an assistant to bacteriologist Philip Hanson Hiss (1868-1913), and was his co-writer on six editions of the Textbook of Bacteriology, published from 1910 until 1928.
Zinsser published Rats, Lice and History in 1935 ..... "being a study in biography, which, after 12 preliminary chapters indispensable for the preparation of the lay reader, deals with the life history of typhus fever".
"We have chosen to write the biography of our disease because we love it platonically - as Amy Lowell loved Keats - and have sought its acquaintance wherever we could find it. And in this growing intimacy we have become increasingly impressed with the influence that this and other infectious diseases, which span - in their protoplasmic continuities - the entire history of mankind, have had upon the fates of men."
Hans Zinsser died in 1940.
Adapted from Ole Daniel Enersen, Hans Zinsser (www.whonamedit.com)